THE Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) has been praised by local football stakeholders for its bold and courageous decision to suspend the Zifa board something they feel is the first step in cleaning the national game.
The SRC on Tuesday suspended the Zifa board which comprised of its president Felton Kamambo, Philimon Machana, Sugar Chagonda, Farai Jere and Brighton Malandule with immediate effect citing “incidences of gross incompetence.”
Since the elevation of Kamambo to the association’s throne, Zimbabwean football has taken a serious downward trajectory with the national team being humiliated and recently finishing bottom of their group in World Cup qualifiers without a single victory in six matches.
And while the decision put Warriors’ participation at next year’s Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals in doubt, those that spoke to the Daily News are in support of the SRC’s decision saying it’s the only way of returning normalcy to the game.
Football’s world governing body Fifa disapproves of governmental interference in the running of member associations and has banned countries from all forms of football as a result in the past.
“I think the suspension was overdue because Zifa has not been playing their ball, they never cared about the state of football in the country,” former Warriors winger Alois Bunjira told the Daily News.
“Football had completely collapsed in Zimbabwe. They were going about their business like everything is normal and they were sinking football deeper every day.
“For instance, if they do not have to respond to the Sports and Recreation Council when asked to furnish them with details pertaining to the affairs of running football and abuse of the constitution.
“I think suspending Zifa will pave the way for the transformation of our football. It is time to bring in the necessary changes across the board and restart on a cleaner slate.”
Bunjira wants SRC to ensure that the right people take charge of the football affairs in the country.
“This is the time we have the right people in the right positions in football, who are hopefully passionate enough to deliver Zimbabwe football,” he said.
“That will also involve the goodwill of all football stakeholders, working together towards that common goal bringing football back to life again. We cannot afford to have individuals who get into football to enrich themselves while football is collapsing.
“I think it’s the perfect opportunity for transformation of our football and can’t afford to get it wrong this time around.”
Popular Zifa critic and sports journalist Hope Chizuzu also believes that even if the move could see the Warriors suspended from international games, it will be good for as long it helps in the transformation of the game in the country.
“Even if Fifa reacts in their usual manner and perhaps calls for a provisional ban on Zimbabwe. That is still fine because we need sanity in our football that has been collapsing for some years,” said Chizuzu.
Chizuzu said SRC played according to the book and hopes that Zimbabwe will not be disqualified from international matches.
“People must not play the wrong tune to think Zimbabwe will be banned from Afcon 2021 in January,” he argued.
‘‘They will not. All SRC will do is watch the space as Fifa cannot do anything without their ear from this minute on. The SRC must be ready with their charge sheet on Zifa and Fifa, which are currently suffering from such crises.
“Fifa will also not want to be embarrassed further by supporting a clearly failing member association and will engage SRC.”